Saturday, February 27, 2010

Criminal Attack Plan Revisited

It's interesting to note that the latest attack in Charlotte i.e. The Bump and Rape/Rob attack followed the S.I.V.A pattern to a tee.

For those who don't remember I wrote about almost all criminals attacking according to the S.I.V.A. acronym which is Selection, Isolation, Verbal then Attack/Assault

First he selected his victim looking out for women alone in cars (in one case two women in one car) as they headed home from night clubs.

Secondly they isolated themselves when they left the club.

Third, he used the ploy of running into their cars the same way another criminal will use a verbal ruse to get close enough to launch his attack.

As I've mentioned previously you can avoid the latter part of the program if you are diligent enough with the first three.

Could you for example reduce the risk of being selected? Yep. Have a male in the car with you, have a pile of friends in the car, have NRA gun stickers on your vehicle or don't go clubbing until he's been caught. (If you have trouble finding a guy, there used to a company that sold a male mannequin for lone women drivers that you could put in the front passenger seat to create the impression there was a man on board).

Next...could you increase your awareness levels when you're on your own? You have to be hyper-vigilant any time you leave the safety of numbers.

As for the steps to take during the verbal phase (in this case the fake accident) see the previous blog entry.

If you do those three well enough you should never end up in the final phase having to fight your way out of a planned ambush by the bad guy(s) and that avoidance and awareness is what true self protection is all about.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bump and Rob Again...

Some readers will no doubt remember the bump and rob attacks that plagued Florida back in the late eighties, early nineties. For those of you who don't know, the bad guys would rear end people in rental cars (which could be identified by stickers) and, when the victim got out to survey the damage, they'd be held up and robbed.

It culminated in one German tourist woman being killed when the bad guys drove away and ran over her in the process. As an aside the effect on the tourist industry was so great that the authorities went all out, caught the team doing it and banged them away for a long time.

Here in Charlotte, early Monday morning, we had two incidents using the same tactic. The perpetrator ran into a car and, when the driver got out, he held her at gun point and forced her to drive to an ATM. When he was unsuccessful getting any money he raped the woman and fondled her passenger.

A couple of hours later he struck again and robbed another woman under the same circumstances. Law enforcement believe it's possible he followed them from nightclubs.

Channel 14 news here in Charlotte contacted me and we did a piece covering some advice for women in that situation. For those of you who missed it, the advice is as follows (and, incidentally, it's the same procedure for a Blue Light Bandit)...

1. Assess what just happened. Is the accident likely? In other words it's hard to stage an accident and make it look real. If there's stuff going on nearby that an inattentive driver might be looking at it when he rear ends you then it could be plausible. If the roads are icy, it could be plausible. If the roads are dry, there's not much traffic and it happens then that should make you wonder.

2. Check your doors are locked and windows up.

3. Put your hazard lights on and drive to your nearest 24 hour safe haven. (We've talked about this in a previous blog but they're locations where someone is in attendance 24/7 such as hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, police and fire stations etc.)

4. While en route call 911 and let them know what happened and what you're doing. Let them know you're a lone female, you're not comfortable dealing with the situation on your own and your intention is to drive to somewhere where there are lights and people.

I'm not going to sugar coat's still a tough situation to be in. What are you going to do for example if, while you're figuring out what just happened, the bad guy appears at your window with his gun in hand. I know of one girl, a friend of my ex, who was in that situation and she drove away and nothing happened. A few weeks ago in Charlotte a woman did the same and the bad guy opened fire on the car.

My advice is (and that means this is what I would do in that situation) is head down and floor it. Every second you're putting distance between you and the bad guy and handguns are notoriously inaccurate. They also don't have the penetration Hollywood would have you believe. Many police officers have discovered that rounds will bounce off a windshield for example and I've been on a body guard course where we shot an old car up with various rounds to see what would happen and a .380 would even penetrate the door skin.

Finally, if you do decide to comply, we're back to the old "leaving crime scene 1 for crime scene 2" which we all know is absolutely taboo.

PS: They haven't caught the guy yet so be on your guard.